…accuses State Governors of violating agreement
By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Nigerian Com-munications Commission, NCC, has called for a review of the Memorandum of Uunderstanding, MoU between the federal and state governments and telecom operators on Right of Way, RoW,to enable telecom service providers deploy optic fibre cables for broadband penetration plan.
The Executive Vice- Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta made the call in Abuja in a chat with journalists, after the Nigerian Union of Journalists Press Freedom Awards held in Abuja.
Danbatta, who was represented by the Director of Public Relations, Mr. Reuben Muoka said the refusal of some state governors to honour the MoU has continued to hamper the roll out of broadband infrastructure across the country by the telecommunication service providers.
He accused the state governments of breaking the Right-of-Way covenant signed between the National Economic Council, NEC and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.
The agreement spells out modalities and fees to be paid by telecommunications operators intent on laying cables through the highways, state and local roads. It also states the responsibilities of each tier of government to ensure the smooth operation of telecommunications and other ICT operators.
The Federal Ministry of Communications Technology under the former minister, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, facilitated the deal following several complaints from telecoms operators about unfriendly treatments they were receiving from different state governments and host communities across the country.
The NCC boss said it was regrettable that instead of sticking with the agreement that aimed at deepening broadband penetration across the country, many state governments chose not to honour it.
He further attributed several poor quality of service issues rising in the sector to the failure of the state governments to abide by the agreement.
“The challenge remains with the refusal of the state Governors to abide by the agreement, but the NCC will continue to dialogue with government at all levels, and even communities.
“The MoU that was signed between the National Economic Council and the state Governors needs to be updated and reviewed.
“We understand that a lot of state governments are still not binding to the provisions of that understanding. But through the consultation of the NCC, the present leadership believes in consultation and dialogue.”
According to him, the Commission has been visiting state governments, organizations at various levels in order to let them understand resolve those issue because they remain critical, saying that, “We believe that without Right of Way implemented, we will not get there. If we are capable of doing that, the multiplier effects will impact on what we are hoping to get,” he stated.
On the award, the EVC said the Commission had done a lot to deserve the awards and pledged to sustain the existing relationship with the media for greater service delivery.
“We have received awards internationally and locally. The reason is that we are very open. NCC is about transparency, our transparency rings a bell, our way of collaboration and dialoguing with various segments of the industry is open as anybody can get information as possible.
“I believe that it is the media that projects our achievements, making the public understand the importance of telecom industry.
“Our website has been recognised as one that is very rich in information, very educative and always being updated,” said Danbatta.